Wireframes are a tool in a web designer arsenal which are used as a blueprint or framework to initially layout the content and usability of a website or app. They represent the content of each screen in a quick, low fidelity sketch. The beauty of wireframes is their “bare bones” aesthetic, making them quick and inexpensive to create and easy to edit.
Scenario 1: The web design phase is set to take 4 weeks. In that time, the web designer goes away to perfect every pixel of each new page. When you see the final designs, you notice that some things just don’t make sense together anymore and there are other spots for opportunities to add content that you didn’t think of before.
The reality is, this happens all the time. Wireframes keep things loose, moveable, and structural changes will be quick and painless.
Scenario 2: You need to finalize the content of a webpage but it feels like the whole page isn’t working because the images/colours/fonts aren’t representing the brand accurately.
Black and white, sketched wireframes don’t look complete, for a good reason. This will keep focus on the important parts of the project phase without the distractions of flashy fonts, colours, or images.
Wireframing is done at the beginning of the process. By the time wireframes are complete, everyone will have a good idea of how the content will be laid out and how the site will be structured. We will have answered the question: What are we going to build.
The next step is high-fidelity mockups. This is when we will create the visual representation of the website and fuss over images and colours before going into the development stage.
Development takes the most time and is the most expensive, so wireframing is a way to make that process as efficient and cost effective as possible.
Wireframes are a great tool for focusing on page elements and structure that need attention at the beginning of the project and that are harder to address later. It is easier to provide feedback on what is working and not working, rather than what people “like and don’t like”
Without getting hung up on design details, it is easier to get stakeholders involved early on in the design process, figuring out and working through flaws early. Not working through problems at this point might create a more painstaking and time-consuming revision process later.
Getting the right feedback from the right people at the right time in the project makes for a more efficient project. And a more efficient project makes it easier to hit key dates and finish a project on time. And who doesn’t want that?
Using wireframes early on in the design process ensures a conversation about structure, content and usability that will guide the project. Ensuring all parties involved are on board with these will lead to more delightful, goal-oriented designs and an overall smooth process.
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